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Exceptions to the 13-15 YO rule?


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#1 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 02:13 PM

I was looking at booking a ticket from MSP to CBS (Columbus, WI), and as I am 14, Amtrak rules state I must board and deboard the train at staffed stations. Since I last took this trip, the CBS station has since lost its attendant, so I can't travel there. I feel more than capable traveling by myself, are there any ways to get exceptions to the 13-15 unattended children rule? I know for the general public the rules are just fine, but I don't find myself as the general public. I am even writing a guide on traveling on Amtrak (I'll announce it here when I publish it). If there are any ways to travel unacompanied, I would love to hear them
Henry

Empire Builder MSP-CHI (2) CHI-MSP (2) MSP-PDX (1) MSP-CBS (5.5 H late) (1) MKE-MSP (1) MSP-SEA (1) Coast Starlate PDX-EMY (1.5H late) (1) California Zephyr DEN-SLC (1H late) (1) Hiawatha CHI-MKE (1) NE Regional WAS-BAL (1) WAS-NYP (1) Acela Express BAL-WAS (1) BOS-WAS (1) Late Shore (Limited service) CHI-BOS (On Time) (1) Capitol Limited WAS-CHI (1) Texas Eagle SAS-CHI (1.5 HR late, 1 HR late) (2) CHI-SAS (1) (55 min early) Wolverine DET-DER-ARB-CHI (35 Min late) (1) Cascades SEA-VAC (1)
Non-Amtrak: VIA: Corridor Service Q.C.-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Windsor (1) Canadian: VAC-Winnipeg 4.5 H late (1) D. C. metro, Montreal Metro, Toronto subway, Portland streetcars, BART, Metra, NYC subway, Boston subway, Twin cities Blue/Green line
train cars travelled in: Superliner: Coach, Sleeper, Diner, CCC, SSL. Amfleet: LD Café, Café/Business, coach. Viewliner: Sleeper, Diner. Acela: Café, Business, quiet car. Horizon: Coach. Talgo: coach, diner, café; non Amtrak: ex CP Via Canadian Manor cars, Park car, diner,sleeper, Skyline lounge. LRC trainset: coach (tilt de-activated)

No trees were killed to make this, but a number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

My apologies if I offend you, or seem stubborn, it's simply my nature. I am 14 after all, and my English isn't exactly perfect.


#2 niemi24s

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 03:46 PM

Some info here may be useful:  http://discuss.amtra...cy-flexibility/



#3 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 04:10 PM

The only exception I'm aware of is to intentionally lie about your age and/or situation. Even then you might be prevented from boarding or kicked off at some unexpected location down the line. I happen to think Amtrak's rules about handling UM's are silly and impractical, but it's clear that Amtrak staff consider unescorted children to be a major trip-ending problem. The risk of being forcibly removed and handed over to station staff or local authorities is real. Even if you think nothing will happen to you imagine what might happen to your parents or guardians? They could be end up being publicly humiliated or barred from future travel or even charged with a crime. Maybe nothing happens but a phone call and a quiet drive back home, but you just never know where these sorts of mistakes and misunderstandings might end up, especially if the right person happens to get the wrong idea about who allowed what and why.

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#4 DisgustedinDC

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 05:25 PM

Many years ago, as a child, I took at least one (maybe two) airplane flights by myself.  I would have been 9 or 10 years old.   One from Raleigh-Durham to, I believe, Chattanooga, and possibly another flight to Boston where I would have been picked up by relatives.  I believe a stewardess escorted me on and off the plane and they checked up on me periodically during the flight.   It seems clear to me that it was all arranged by my parents in advance.   While the opportunity for trouble I guess is higher on a train than a plane, it seems silly to me that there are such restrictions on 14 year olds on Amtrak. 



#5 Hal

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 06:10 PM

I was looking at booking a ticket from MSP to CBS (Columbus, WI), and as I am 14, Amtrak rules state I must board and deboard the train at staffed stations. Since I last took this trip, the CBS station has since lost its attendant, so I can't travel there. I feel more than capable traveling by myself, are there any ways to get exceptions to the 13-15 unattended children rule? I know for the general public the rules are just fine, but I don't find myself as the general public. I am even writing a guide on traveling on Amtrak (I'll announce it here when I publish it). If there are any ways to travel unacompanied, I would love to hear them
Henry


There are no exceptions.

#6 MikefromCrete

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 06:36 PM

Why do you think you should get an exception? Just because you know a lot about trains? Sorry, the world the doesn't work that way. 



#7 Karl1459

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 06:43 PM

Write your senators and congressperson. If the law will change to require a (more relaxed) change to the unaccompanied minor policy Amtrak will follow it. Be prepared to justify why it is important for the entire system, not just you. It worked for guns and dogs, should work for kids too.



#8 KmH

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 07:15 PM

Write your senators and congressperson. If the law will change to require a (more relaxed) change to the unaccompanied minor policy Amtrak will follow it. Be prepared to justify why it is important for the entire system, not just you. It worked for guns and dogs, should work for kids too.

In what part of the US Federal code is that a law?

Or is it just an Amtrak policy?


Edited by KmH, 13 June 2017 - 07:15 PM.

1963U. S. Congress - underground trolley system • Disneyland train (1968/various other dates) • Old Tucson steam train (1969)

Amtrak: California Zephyr Coast Starlight •  Southwest ChiefSunset LimitedTexas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr

. . . . . . . Amtrak miles - 16,383, so far.

 

 

 

 

 


#9 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 11:15 PM

Write your senators and congressperson. If the law will change to require a (more relaxed) change to the unaccompanied minor policy Amtrak will follow it. Be prepared to justify why it is important for the entire system, not just you. It worked for guns and dogs, should work for kids too.

In what part of the US Federal code is that a law?
Or is it just an Amtrak policy?

There is no federal code for minors in Amtrak. The post was most likely referring to a potential future code that could be caused by avocation from the public that would require Amtrak to allow those between a certain age and 16 to ride Amtrak alone unrestricted.
Trains travelled: Capitol Limited WAS-CHI, Carolinian CLT-RGH, Coast Starlight SJC-LAX, Crescent BAL-ATL, Empire Builder MSP-CHI, Empire Service NYP-NFL, Lake Shore Limited BOS-ALB, Maple Leaf ALB-NYP, Northeast Regional FBG-RVR+WAS-BOS, Pacific Surfliner LAX-ANA, Piedmont RGH-DNC, Silver Meteor ORL-NYP, Silver Star FTL-WAS, 2016 Autumn Express NYP-HAR-NYP

Upcoming New Routes: Pennsylvanian NYP-PGH (July), Cardinal CHI-WAS (July), Lake Shore Limited NYP-CHI (December), California Zephyr CHI-RIC (December), Coast Starlight SJC-SEA (December), Empire Builder SEA-MSP (January).

Non Amtrak: Atlanta Streetcar, Caltrain, CTA, DC Streetcar, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, LIRR, MARC, MARTA, MBTA Subway, Metra, Metrolink, METRO Transit Light Rail, Miami Metrorail, Muni Metro, NJT Commuter Rail, North Star, NYC Subway, PATH, River Line (NJT), SEPTA Regional Rail, SEPTA Subway, South Shore Line, Sunrail, TECO Streetcar, Tri-Rail, Washington Metro

#10 BCL

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 01:30 AM

 

Write your senators and congressperson. If the law will change to require a (more relaxed) change to the unaccompanied minor policy Amtrak will follow it. Be prepared to justify why it is important for the entire system, not just you. It worked for guns and dogs, should work for kids too.

In what part of the US Federal code is that a law?

Or is it just an Amtrak policy?

 

 

I think the reference was to the way that guns were allowed on Amtrak.  Weren't they specifically disallowed by federal law, then specifically allowed by a federal transportation funding law?

 

I'm not sure that they're going to do anything specifically about unaccompanied minors on Amtrak.  There's no specific law about airlines and unaccompanied minors - just specific airline policy that is fairly similar among different airlines.



#11 Ryan

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 05:18 AM

Two different threads here:

1. Is the current policy appropriate? Maybe? Probably not? That said, I'm going going to trash a company too much for erring on the side of "avoid the lawyers and bad press" at the expense of providing a useful service.

2. Is there a way around the current policy, can you get away with breaking it? No. Just no. If you want to ride their trains, you get to play by their rules.
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#12 Karl1459

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 09:29 AM

Write your senators and congressperson. If the law will change to require a (more relaxed) change to the unaccompanied minor policy Amtrak will follow it. Be prepared to justify why it is important for the entire system, not just you. It worked for guns and dogs, should work for kids too.

Sorry if I was not clear. IIRC there was a rider attached to an Amtrak funding bill to require Amtrak to create a policy to carry guns (becoming unloaded in locked storage in checked baggage), Also IIRC there was another rider to another bill requiring Amtrak to handle certain pets.



#13 BCL

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:13 AM

 

Write your senators and congressperson. If the law will change to require a (more relaxed) change to the unaccompanied minor policy Amtrak will follow it. Be prepared to justify why it is important for the entire system, not just you. It worked for guns and dogs, should work for kids too.

Sorry if I was not clear. IIRC there was a rider attached to an Amtrak funding bill to require Amtrak to create a policy to carry guns (becoming unloaded in locked storage in checked baggage), Also IIRC there was another rider to another bill requiring Amtrak to handle certain pets.

 

 

A lot of these riders get thrown in because someone either wants to kill the bill or actually wants the rider.  The current requirement that the National Park Service allows personal carrying of firearms came from a rider inserted into a credit card protection bill.



#14 BCL

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:21 AM

I was looking at booking a ticket from MSP to CBS (Columbus, WI), and as I am 14, Amtrak rules state I must board and deboard the train at staffed stations. Since I last took this trip, the CBS station has since lost its attendant, so I can't travel there. I feel more than capable traveling by myself, are there any ways to get exceptions to the 13-15 unattended children rule? I know for the general public the rules are just fine, but I don't find myself as the general public. I am even writing a guide on traveling on Amtrak (I'll announce it here when I publish it). If there are any ways to travel unacompanied, I would love to hear them
Henry

 

You have no options within Amtrak's rules.  None.  Zero.  I would point out that the founder of this forum was younger than you, but as far as I know he didn't ask for any special dispensation from Amtrak.  In fact, Amtrak sued him.

 

Your only option would be to lie about your age, but once you're 16, theoretically Amtrak can ask to see ID with date of birth at any time.



#15 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 11:05 AM

I was looking at booking a ticket from MSP to CBS (Columbus, WI), and as I am 14, Amtrak rules state I must board and deboard the train at staffed stations. Since I last took this trip, the CBS station has since lost its attendant, so I can't travel there. I feel more than capable traveling by myself, are there any ways to get exceptions to the 13-15 unattended children rule? I know for the general public the rules are just fine, but I don't find myself as the general public. I am even writing a guide on traveling on Amtrak (I'll announce it here when I publish it). If there are any ways to travel unacompanied, I would love to hear them
Henry

 
You have no options within Amtrak's rules.  None.  Zero.  I would point out that the founder of this forum was younger than you, but as far as I know he didn't ask for any special dispensation from Amtrak.  In fact, Amtrak sued him.
 
Your only option would be to lie about your age, but once you're 16, theoretically Amtrak can ask to see ID with date of birth at any time.
Actually, I don't believe any passengers are required to have ID that shows date of birth. In fact, I think that passengers who are 16 and 17 don't need any ID whatsoever if they come with tickets and don't check bags.

Edited by brianpmcdonnell17, 14 June 2017 - 11:09 AM.

Trains travelled: Capitol Limited WAS-CHI, Carolinian CLT-RGH, Coast Starlight SJC-LAX, Crescent BAL-ATL, Empire Builder MSP-CHI, Empire Service NYP-NFL, Lake Shore Limited BOS-ALB, Maple Leaf ALB-NYP, Northeast Regional FBG-RVR+WAS-BOS, Pacific Surfliner LAX-ANA, Piedmont RGH-DNC, Silver Meteor ORL-NYP, Silver Star FTL-WAS, 2016 Autumn Express NYP-HAR-NYP

Upcoming New Routes: Pennsylvanian NYP-PGH (July), Cardinal CHI-WAS (July), Lake Shore Limited NYP-CHI (December), California Zephyr CHI-RIC (December), Coast Starlight SJC-SEA (December), Empire Builder SEA-MSP (January).

Non Amtrak: Atlanta Streetcar, Caltrain, CTA, DC Streetcar, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, LIRR, MARC, MARTA, MBTA Subway, Metra, Metrolink, METRO Transit Light Rail, Miami Metrorail, Muni Metro, NJT Commuter Rail, North Star, NYC Subway, PATH, River Line (NJT), SEPTA Regional Rail, SEPTA Subway, South Shore Line, Sunrail, TECO Streetcar, Tri-Rail, Washington Metro

#16 Lonestar648

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 11:45 AM

Those 18 and over riding Amtrak are required to carry TSA approved ID.  Amtrak may randomly check passenger ID for security reasons.  Those minors under 18 should carry a TSA approved ID which can be their official High School or College ID which does not have their DOB, but does officially identify them with a photo and is approved by the TSA.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 197,000


#17 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 12:01 PM

If the trend is more stations being unattended this is going to be a bigger issue in general (of course if the LD system gets shut down most of those unattended stations will be closed anyway).


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Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
 


#18 Lonestar648

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 01:05 PM

With more and more stations unstaffed and with the policy of no over night travel or change of trains, it is unlikely minors under the age of 16 will be able to travel unaccompanied.  Less liability for Amtrak to manage, so with more and more trigger happy parents filing law suits against anyone gets that near their children.  


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 197,000


#19 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 01:27 PM

With more and more stations unstaffed and with the policy of no over night travel or change of trains, it is unlikely minors under the age of 16 will be able to travel unaccompanied.  Less liability for Amtrak to manage, so with more and more trigger happy parents filing law suits against anyone gets that near their children.


Does anyone have an example of an actual parent suing Amtrak over someone approaching their child? I know it's fun and easy to just assume everyone in the country is a raving lunatic, especially in the current climate of alternative facts and fake news, but I've asked for some sort of evidence of this problem multiple times, and so far as I am aware nobody has ever been able to produce anything verifiable.

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 14 June 2017 - 01:31 PM.

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#20 BCL

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 01:33 PM

Those 18 and over riding Amtrak are required to carry TSA approved ID.  Amtrak may randomly check passenger ID for security reasons.  Those minors under 18 should carry a TSA approved ID which can be their official High School or College ID which does not have their DOB, but does officially identify them with a photo and is approved by the TSA.


I looked up the rule, and Amtrak says that ID is needed to purchase tickets, check in baggage, or pick up tickets. I guess using a credit card gets around that, but most kids can't get their own credit cards.




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